At this point pretty much everyone who follows the game knows that the NFL is a copycat league. Teams “borrow” plays from one another on a week-to-week basis after absorbing the film, and many times the same play you saw beat a certain team last week is being used by that same team to take down their opponent the following Sunday.
We’ve all heard that imitation is the highest form of flattery, so this latest development should have the Seattle Seahawks’ helmets fitting a little tighter due to their swelling heads on Super Bowl Sunday. The team’s vaunted secondary known as the “Legion of Boom” is also known for its impressive size in comparison to other safeties and corners around the league. That trend may be coming to the San Diego Chargers in 2014 as the team is reportedly targeting two players showing out at the Senior Bowl in the secondary with a serious size advantage.
The Bolts have been linked to both Washington State strong safety Deone Bucannon (6-foot-1, 214-pounds) and Utah cornerback Keith McGill (6-foot-3, 214-pounds). Neither player is projected as a first-round pick by the so-called experts at this current moment in time, but Seattle’s flourishing secondary could spark interest in the sizable cover guys in addition to San Diego’s inquiries. NFL Network’s Mike Mayock offered this praise of McGill saying:
Mayock: Utah’s Keith McGill looks like a combination of Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman. #SeniorBowl
— CollegeFootball 24/7 (@NFL_CFB) January 21, 2014
Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman are certainly far more advanced in understanding NFL concepts and diagnosing plays at the next level, but the raw similarities are undeniable. McGill’s stats aren’t anything jaw-dropping with just one interception and 12 pass breakups for the Utes this past season, but his physical talent combined with what he has shown in the Senior Bowl practices should have the Bolts taking notice. He may have the makings of a future shutdown corner with his long arms and pure physical prowess over opposing receivers.
And I wouldn’t hesitate to compare Wazzu’s Bucannon to Kam Chancellor — although he is two inches shorted and 18 pounds lighter. The bone-rattling hits that Bucannon is capable of are very much like the fine-garnering shots Chancellor indiscriminately distributes on Sundays throughout the NFL. In fact, Bucannon may actually be better at forcing turnovers than his NFL counterpart as he hauled in five interceptions including the Cougars’ bowl game this season in just 13 games while Chancellor had just three picks in 16 regular season outings. Granted the quarterbacking in the Pac-12 isn’t comparable to the NFL, but the fact remains that Bucannon is opportunistic which translate to any level of play.
Comparisons aside, there’s no question both guys have what it takes to excel at the next level. The Chargers could potentially eye Bucannon as a trade down possibility from round one into early round two, and McGill could be a potential fit in the late second-round. San Diego has Eric Weddle set and then a bunch of question marks pretty much everywhere else in the secondary. Shareece Wright figures to be one of the starting corners, but the free agent failure formally known as Derek Cox could be cut before the league year begins to save some serious cap room. Marcus Gilchrist was average at best in his first year at safety, and Richard Marshall was never anything more than a stopgap as the nickel corner.
The trendy nature of the NFL could have teams other than just the Chargers looking to add these Seahawk clones when the 2014 NFL Draft rolls around in May. There’s no question that either one or preferably both would be a great step toward improving what ranked as the No. 29 pass defense in the league last season.